KCHS

2nd Time is as Charming as the First

2016 and 2017 REMY Awards

Late January award ceremonies are becoming a reoccurring theme that we are really enjoying! This January was no exception. We certainly do not do what we do for the awards but it is always nice to win them. The best part of the Remodel of the Year (REMY) awards through the Kansas City chapter of the National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI) is that all of the categories and entries are judged by a blind panel of experts from another NARI chapter. Winning an award truly shows that you are doing the right thing on the highest level of quality and craftsmanship.

So what did we win? We entered 4 categories and took home awards on 3 of them. We found out that the one category that we did not place in we missed 2nd by .132 points. The closest separation of placing of anyone in the entire chapter. We are of course still very proud of the results.

Below are below and after pictures of the 3 categories we placed in:

Before

After

Before

After

Before

After

From top to the bottom, the projects and awards are as follows.

*2017 Kansas City NARI Remodel of the Year "REMY" Gold & All-Star Award Basement Finish $50,000 to $100,000 Category Winner*

*2017 Kansas City NARI Remodel of the Year "REMY" Gold Award Interior Remodel $75,000 to $150,000 Category Winner*

*2017 Kansas City NARI Remodel of the Year "REMY" Silver Award Interior Remodel Under $75,000 Category Runner-Up*

2018 is already shaping up to be a fantastic year at KC Home Solutions. We would love to add your project to our list of awards. You never know! We hope to help you make your personal vision become reality! 

KC Home Solutions - 2015 Review and 2016 Resolutions

Picture credit www.visitkc.com

So today is the last day of 2015 and it's been a GREAT year for us...and we hope much of the Kansas City area! We thought it would be good to review a few things and make some 2016 resolutions. So here we go.

2015:

First and foremost, the Royals won the World Series! The Chiefs are in the NFL Playoffs and it's the first time they both have made the postseason the same year...EVER. 

We (KC Home Solutions) had our BEST year ever, setting records for total volume business...thanks to all of you! So what did we end up doing?

5 Kitchen remodels, 30+ master bathroom, basement and guest bathroom remodels, 22 basement finishes and 5 home additions and house builds! 

We also won the 2015 Angie's List Super Service Award in the categories of Basement Remodeling, Kitchen & Bathroom Remodeling and General Remodeling. That marks our 2nd year in a row to win those awards. Now we know what it feels like to be the Royals (they have won back-to-back American League Championships) it's the same, right? Enh, close. The boss probably won't buy us cool rings (bummer).

Can't wait to see the World Series Championship ring...we loved the 2014 AL Championship rings for the Royals!

Thanks to all our subcontractors and all of the people who work behind the scenes that you may never notice. That includes (in no particular order) All Dimensions Flooring, Central States Tile, KC Wood, Kitchen & Bath by Briggs, McCray Lumber, Petty Products, Stillwell Heating & Cooling, DWG Drywall, Teague Electric, HP Tile, LRW Plumbing, Ferguson Plumbing Supplies and everyone involved with all these great companies.

2016:

Well I HOPE to be writing about a Chiefs Super Bowl Championship this time next year...another Royals World Series would be great too!

We have some lofty goals for our company starting TOMORROW. We are hoping to continue to double our totals (we've done it every year we've been in business). Not saying that we will but that's what a goal is for, right? 

We are going to continue to work hard to improve our processes and keep giving everyone quality results. We really feel that our attention to detail, treating everyone respectfully and not rushing projects is the best way to do business. Speed in projects (like on TV shows) is great, but there's a lot to be said about making sure it's done right the first time.

We want to continue to set ourselves apart from the other contractors out there. Whether that's through design, attention to detail (big and small), or providing information to people who need help. We may not be the lowest bid you'll get but if you have a question you need help with, even if you did not choose us, don't be afraid to ask. 

Check out our booth at the Johnson County Home + Garden Show in January 22-24 as we go for back-to-back awards for "Best Use of a Small Space". Happy New Year! We hope to work with all of you in 2016! 

Estimate vs Estimate - KC Home Solutions vs The other guys

From time to time we'll go to a home and talk with a potential customer. Generally speaking, one of the questions that comes up will be the difference between us and other general contractors in our processes and how we do things. Recently though we have had a few estimates approved (thanks for that) and we try to find out what we did that helped us earn the business. Here are a few of the answers we got the last several times.

1) "We choose KC Home Solutions because your estimates were detailed." This has actually been something that we have heard as a negative on a couple of follow-ups as well. So how can it be a positive AND a negative? Well we line item nearly every aspect of the job. In our experience most people like the idea of knowing what they are getting for their money. Because of that reason we will continue to go that route. The negative? Some people have expressed that they were overwhelmed with information and found our bid confusing.

Keep this in mind, if you get a bid from us and you have questions, you can always ask us. Want us to eliminate something, maybe you changed your mind, no problem, just let us know. Give us an opportunity to make our bid exactly what you are looking for. We may still not be in your price range for whatever reason, and that's ok, give us a chance to adjust as necessary and there will definitely be no hard feelings on our end if you go another direction.

2) "You guys don't have any hidden fees, the other guys do." This is one that we were surprised to hear about. One shocker on our end was a customer telling us that a previous contractor made them purchase everything for the work to be done. For example, barn doors. The GC told the customer what they needed them to order (exact door size, hardware, etc), the client asked if the GC would order it as she didn't feel comfortable doing it. The GC told them they could order the barn doors for them but they would charge the client an additional 30% above the retail purchase price of the doors. Seriously. We couldn't believe it either. 

With KC Home Solutions if you want to purchase a light fixture and have us install it, no problem. If you want us to pick something out and have us purchase it, still not a problem. We'll build the cost of the light fixture in to the bid. We aren't going to add additional expenses on for doing it. We are about treating you the way we would want to be treated. 

3) "Permits? You guys pull permits?" 99% of all projects require permits from a respective city. What doesn't? Repairing a fence for example. What does require a permit? Well it can vary from location to location. But here's the deal. We pull permits because it protects everyone involved. You are assured that the electrical, plumbing. framing, insulation, fireblocking, etc is not only getting done but done correctly. A lot of contractors won't pull permits because they are time consuming and depending on the size of the project can be kind of costly. 

Once again, KC Home Solutions is not about cutting corners. Permits aren't fun, not going to lie, they can be a pain. But in the end it's not only the law in most cases, it's the right thing to do. 

Is there a question you have been itching to ask us? New home build? Basement needing finished? Master bath needing an update? Still rocking early 90's brass in your master bathroom? Whatever it is, give us an opportunity to earn your business and we think you may be surprised in the difference from the "other guys" and KC Home Solutions!

Fire It Up! What Would We Do Wednesday

I guess when people get hot in the midwest their thoughts turn to fire. At least it appears that way to us! In the last week we have had requests for, wait for it, fireplace options. Yeah, probably the last thing most of us would think about too. Clearly a few people in the Kansas City area can't wait for it to get cold, can't blame them for that I guess.

So on this week's WWWDW article we are going to take on fireplace remodeling! It may not be as daunting of a task as you would think.

Does that look familiar?

Or maybe this one?

Chances are, unless your home is only 10 or so years old, you may have one of these relics in your living, den or basement. I would imagine that most people simply deal with it and think that it's just too much work and too expensive to change. Well guess what? It may not be, it just depends on what you want to do with the space. So what are your options?

Easiest option is to paint the brick. It's gonna take a lot of paint, but it's do-able. Of course you don't need us for that now do you?

Another option? Remove the brick. Now you might want to give us a call for this task. It's gonna get really dusty and messy. Generally speaking these set-ups are not one piece full front to back brick and mortar structures. Meaning you can remove levels of brick and find a substructure of some kind, but you never know. The older the home the more likely it will be a full structure.

Another option? Covering the brick with something else. Stone, metal and tile are the three most common cover options. In some cases you can attach directly on to the brick, with some stone and most tile options. In others you may need to frame the brick and basically build a box around it, attach a backer board and then affix the product.

Painted brick example

Resurfacing example, laying stone directly on the brick.

Modern stainless steel electric fireplace with mounted TV and great accent pieces

There are a variety of ways to spruce up your dated fireplace. Don't sit there another night looking at that fire smoke burnt nasty thing. You don't have to just deal with it. Change it! Call us if you want some ideas or some help.

A REALLY GOOD QUESTION!

I was asked a question this week that I wasn't prepared to answer. It didn't so much throw me for a loop, but rather I just had never really thought about the question before. So what was this stunning question?

How is your company different or better than the next?

It was an opportunity to brag on KC Home Solutions. It was an open invitation to leave the client feeling great about having an extra piece of information to help make an informed decision. It was where I should have sold what we do...and I fell flat on my face. Hashtag fail for those of your social media fans out there. But I've had almost 36 hours to stew on this and here are a few things I (should) have come up with. 

1) Communication - We pride ourselves on this topic. Whether you working on a special design idea, looking to get help with a tile pattern, finalizing a paint color or making a change mid-project, you can lean on us to be there for you. Everyone that works on our staff including our subcontractors, we all want to see your project end up exactly how you expect it to.

2) Budget - When we write a number on your estimate, that's what we are going to stick with. We all have budgets in our personal lives for all sorts of things and no one ever wants to be concerned with wondering from week to week if it will change. Of course unexpected things arise, but that's where topic one comes back up and we work with you to help make the most informed decision possible. 

3) Trust - Compared to other companies out there, we are young. But in a short amount of time we have earned the trust and respect of many people. When you treat people as you want to be treated. Respect, honesty, communication, craftsmanship, attention to detail and a lot of smiles. We work hard but have fun doing it. Our completed projects speak for themselves but so do Angie's List Awards...and you can read about all of those HERE!

Have a question you want answered? Shoot it our way, we would love to answer a bunch of questions in our next Tuesday article. 

FREEDOM!

"Get busy demoing or get busy somewhere else." So I may not have that quote correct from Shawshank Redemption, it's close. Or not. Just don't make us crawl through your main sewer line, okay? So I was talking with some prospective clients today and they were asking a few questions that gave me a thought about the topic of today's article. 

Of course it helped that the 4th of July is coming up this weekend when thinking about freedom. So why this topic from a general contractor? Because unlike some other companies, we have no problem letting you do some things on your own to save some money. You want to do the paint work yourself? No problem. You have a family friend that owns a carpet store that can do that for you? Sounds good! 

We are a small company and while we trust everyone that works for us and with us, we understand the desire to save money when it's possible to do so. 

If Captain America has volunteered to come in and install the tile in your new bathroom, we would love to meet him, shake his hand, and we aren't going to argue with him at all if he takes a little longer than our guys would have. The biggest factor for us is that you get the quality and end result that you are looking for. By the way, does anyone know if Flash does construction? We would like to talk to him if he does, just saying. Of course there are a few things that we will want to leave to the licensed pros such as electrical and plumbing.

Would you be willing to trade all the (demo) days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our (design) enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom (to do our our painting or anything else we want to do ourselves)!!!

What Would We Do Wednesday - We can keep a secret

First off, we aren't working a remodel in the Oval Office...yet. Although we would likely have to charge some travel expenses if we got that bid. Trust me, if we got a bid to do work in at the White House you guys would already know. 

So why the quasi-hidden door? Because we are building a hidden room for a homeowner! Now, before you get all excited, we aren't going to tell you where it will be installed. However, if we get permission once it's completed, we'll get you some pictures. It will be a while. So what's it going to look like?

The concept is very similar to the picture above. The idea is that when the door is closed you will have no idea that it exists. If you do a google search for hidden rooms you'll see a lot of different concepts, and they are all really cool. There are many designs that can be incorporated and locations to install. We would love to hear your ideas!

If you are looking to get your hidden BatCave entrance built we can work that out, probably even have a hidden button is a statue on your desk just like in Wayne Manor. We promise, your secret identity is safe with us! If you don't mind we would love to get a ride in either the BatWing or Batmobile, either is good with us.

Teamwork...

There's no I in KC Home Solutions! Ok, so there is. Well there certainly isn't an I in TEAM. Unless of course you believe that there's an I hidden the A in team...it all gets confusing without pictures.

I get the feeling that you are reading this and starting to wonder, "what's the point?" Well here is the point. KC Home Solutions is the definition of team. If you look up the word team on dictionary.com you'll actually find a picture of our logo! (That may not be true, I haven't looked today, it could be true!) We are small company in regards to a lot of big general contractors in the Kansas City metro area. All told there are 6 full-time employees and a couple other part-time team members. But what makes us great (in our humble opinion) is that we all help out each other as we can. No one person is too big or too small to do a task.

I can tell you're looking for an example. How about this? The President of our company is basically our go-to framer. Our Project Manager just last week was helping with a punch list to finish a project. We could go on and on. The point is that we work better when helping each other out. We would do that for you too! We don't want anyone to ever feel that there is a question they can't ask anyone on our staff. If one person doesn't know the answer, another likely will. Every project won't go off without a hiccup, but it doesn't mean we won't try to make it work out that way!

WWWDW - Tile in Style

We aren't going to say that we couldn't do the above tile for you in your house, but we also are not going to lie and say our tile guys would love to do it either. Although we are fairly certain that they would like the challenge.

Tile can be one of the quickest ways to really change a room. Most people think of tile and automatically go to a backsplash in the kitchen or something in a bathroom. But more and more tile is being incorporated in other locations throughout the home. Don't get cornered in to the idea that you can only use tile where you'll be getting something wet. 

Stainless steel tile is trending on the popular side of decorating and design in homes currently. Pictured above 3x6 brushed stainless long grain metal tile in an alternating pattern. It's a very sleek and modern accent to just about any space, not just a kitchen as you see in this application.

The brushed stainless and polished glass accent in the picture above could look absolutely stunning as a trim piece or stand alone in several applications. Could you imagine trimming an accent window or running this in a 6 inch border though a shower or around a soaker tub?

Contemporary large tile floor and wall options are also trending up in design currently. As you can see above, minimizing the grout line and going with large gray's and dark colors on floors in living rooms is popular. The design is sleek and relatively easy to maintain for a long time.

The key is finding a color, design and pattern that you will be able to live with an enjoy every day. Keep in mind that carpet can be easy to pull up and replace, tile, while not permanent, is typically more expensive to install  but with the right care will last a long time. We love bringing your new ideas to our tile crew and our tile supplier as seems to have the newest trends and options.

I. Don't. Know. What. To. Do!

Is the picture above your reaction when someone asks what you are planning on doing with your remodel? Do you know that you want to finish your unfinished basement but you have basically no idea where to start? Don't worry, we get that all the time.

Most people claim that they have done a lot of homework, but I would guess that the majority of people simply know that they want to change or add something, they just aren't sure what. Guess what? That's okay! No really, it is. You aren't, "wasting our time" and you shouldn't be "really sorry that I'm not sure what can be done with this space," it's OKAY!

KC Home Solutions is proud to announce that we now have an Interior Design Specialist on staff! Let's first break down what an Interior Designer does. Interior designers identify, research, and creatively solve problems related to the function of interior environments in order to enhance quality of life and protect public health, safety, and welfare. Interior designers perform services such as programming, design analysis, spatial design, specifications of furnishing and materials, construction documentation, and construction observation.

So what does that mean for you? It means, once again, that if you don't know what a space can handle, you're good. If you don't know where a bathroom can or should be placed, no worries. If you have a space and you want an idea for it, you came to the right place. Our designer can help, right along with any of our other staff members. We want to do everything we can to make your project come out just how you want, even if you don't know what you want!

So no more of this guy ^...

And a lot more of this guy ^. We've got your back!